De Loyss

Apelike Prim ate of Sout h America.

Scientific names: Ameranthropoides loysi, proposed by George Montandon in 1929; Ateles loysi, proposed by Arthur Keith in 1929 to count er Mont andon.

Physical description: Gibbonlike primat e. Thick coat of long, grayish-brown hair. Height , 5 feet 1.75 inches. Oval face, with developed

De Loys's APE, a mystery primate photographed in 1920 by Swiss geologist François de Loys in the Serranía de Par-ijá of Colombia and Venezuela. (Fortean Picture Library)

forehead. Triangular pat ch of pale pigment on t he forehead. Round ridges surrounding t he eye socket s. Flat nose wit h flared nost rils. Powerful jaws wit h t hirt y-t wo t eet h (inst ead of t he normal t hirt y-six for plat yrrhine monkeys in Sout h America). Flat chest. Broad shoulders. St urdy arms. Monkeylike hands. Long fingers. Vest igial t humbs. Oversized clit oris. Long t oes. Opposed big t oe. No t ail.

Behavior: Can apparently walk upright by holding on t o bushes. Screams wildly. Angrily confront s humans and uses t ree branches and it s own excrement as weapons.

Distribution: Serranía de Parijá of Colombia and Venezuela.

Significant sighting: In 1920, members of Swiss geologist François de Loys's expedit ion killed t he female of a pair of t all, t ailless apes t hat appeared t o t hreat en t hem. The incident occurred along t he Río Tarra, on t he border between Colombia and Venezuela. His famous phot ograph shows t he dead animal sit t ing on a de loys's ape 123

gasoline crat e wit h it s chin propped up by a st ick. Ot her phot os were t ragically lost when de Loys's boat capsized. The skull was ret ained, but t he expedit ion's cook used it as a salt cont ainer, and it disint egrat ed (as did t he pelt ). Possible explanations:

(1) Thought to be a Black spider monkey (Ateles paniscus) by Sir Art hur Keit h, who suspect ed t hat t he animal had been creat ively manipulat ed for t he camera by de Loys. However, t he report ed size alone makes t his doubt ful, since t hese monkeys are rarely more t han 3 feet 6 inches when st anding on t he hind legs. No t ail is visible in t he phot o, and t he animal's body is t hicker and more massive. De Loys's ape is less hairy, has more powerful jaws, and has an oval face wit h lit t le prognat hism.

(2) The Whit e-bellied spider monkey (A. belzebuth ) is a st rong possibilit y, especially if t he size of t he crat e in t he phot o is less t han 16 inches, inst ead of t he 18-20 inches est imat ed by George Mont andon in his analysis of t he case. Ivan Sanderson favored t his explanat ion, suggest ing t hat t he decomposing body had already st art ed bloat ing when t he phot o was t aken.

(3) Loren Coleman and Michel Raynal argue persuasively t hat t he st ory was a hoax by Mont andon, based on de Loys's phot o of a spider monkey. Mont andon would have done t his in order t o lend credence t o his racist t heory t hat primat e evolut ion t ook place independent ly in Sout h America, wit h Indians as t he ult imat e result .

(4) An unclassified ape or monkey known locally as t he Mono Grande.

(5) A surviving Protopithecus brasiliensis, a fruit -eat ing spider monkey from t he Lat e Pleist ocene of east ern Brazil t hat was t wice as large as any ext ant species.

Sources: George Mont andon, "Découvert e d'un singe d'apparence ant hropoide en Amérique du Sud," Journal de la Société des Américanistes de Paris 21, no. 6 (1929): 183-186; George Mont andon, "Un singe d'apparence ant hropoide en Amérique du Sud," Comptes Rendus de l'Academie des Sciences 188 (1929): 815-817; François de Loys, "A Gap

Filled in t he Pedigree of Man?" Illustrated London News 84 (June 15, 1929): 1040; Francis M. Ashley-Mont ague, "The Discovery of a New Ant hropoid Ape in Sout h America?" Scientific Monthly 29 (1929): 275-279; Léonce Joleaud, "Remarques sur l'evolut ion des primat es Sud-Americains, à propos du grand singe du Venezuela," La Revue Scientifique 67 (1929): 269-273; Art hur Keit h, "The Alleged Discovery of an Ant hropoid Ape in Sout h America," Man 29 (1929): 135-136; Nello Beccari, "Amerant hropoides Loysi, gli at elini e l'import anza della morfologica cerebrale nella classificazione delle scimmie," Archivio per l'Antropologia e la Etnologia 73 (1943): 5-114; Don Cousins, "Ape Mystery," Wildlife 24 (April 1982): 148-149; Michael T. Shoemaker, "The Myst ery of t he Mono Grande," Strange Magazine 7 (April 1991): 2-5, 56-60; Marc E. W. Miller and Khryzt ian E. Miller, "Furt her Invest igat ion int o Loy's 'Ape' in Venezuela," Cryptozoology 10 (1991): 66-71; Loren Coleman and Michel Raynal, "De Loys' Phot ograph: A Short Tale of Apes in Green Hell, Spider Monkeys, and Ameranthropoides loysiAs the Tools of Racism," The Anomalist, no. 4 (Autumn 1996): 84-93; Letters, The Anomalist, no. 5 (Summer 1997): 143-153; Ángel L. Viloria, Franco Urbani, and Bernardo Urbani, "François de Loys (1892-1935) y un hallazgo desdeñado: La hist oria de una cont roversia ant ropológica," Interciencia 23 (March-April 1998): 94-100; Karl Shuker, "Monkeying around wit h Our Memories?" Strange Magazine, no. 20 (December 1998): 40- 42; Let t ers, Interciencia 24 (July-August 1999): 229-231.

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